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EPA Gives Out Dirty Air Awards?

Date : Thu, 19 Apr 2012 12:33:48 -0400

*/For Immediate Release/*
April 12, 2012 Contact: Jeff Tittel, NJ Sierra Club Director, 609-558-9100

*EPA Gives Out Dirty Air Awards?* The EPA announced today that its Northeast Diesel Collaborative presented an award to the Port Authority's Port Commerce Department for implementing programs to clean up diesel emissions.The North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority was named as an honorable mention.The Collaborative is a partnership between the EPA, state agencies, and non-profit organizations.*Jeff Tittel, Director, NJ Sierra Club* issued the following statement in response:

"When we look at the awards being given out by the EPA's Northeast Diesel Collaborative on diesel reductions in the New Jersey area, we cannot believe these agencies actually deserve to get an award.EPA giving these groups an award for diesel reductions is like Weight Watchers giving Ben and Jerry's an award for helping people diet."

"The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey has stood in the way for cleaning up air pollution at our ports.The Sierra Club is part of the NJ Healthy Ports Initiative and has seen firsthand the lack of programs to reduce diesel emissions.The agency has done almost nothing to clean up diesel engines or prevent idling at the ports.They have done little to bring in low sulfur fuel for ocean going vessels.They have done nothing to electrify the movement of goods at the ports, using electric conveyer belts instead of diesel forklifts.They have done nothing to encourage more ship to rail containerization.They are sending garbage trucks to incinerators in New Jersey creating more pollution problems.They don't use renewable energy.They have added to air pollution by getting rid of off-peak tolls which encouraged trucks to not travel during rush hour preventing pollution created while sitting in traffic.They raised PATH fares putting more people in cars adding to air pollution." The North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority was named an honorable mention despite supporting road widening projects that have created more truck traffic in New Jersey, not less.The agency has done little to promote planning to reduce truck traffic through increased rail use as an alternative or develop truck routes to get trucks away from schools, residential neighborhoods and vulnerable populations.They have not for plug-in electric vehicle or CNG vehicle use.Both the North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority and the Port Authority have done little to plan for a cross harbor freight rail tunnel."

"The Christie administration is not implementing an off road diesel emissions program, not enforcing anti-idling laws, and not promoting alternative fuel vehicles.Instead they are promoting policies that make emissions worse by delaying the DEP sulfur rule, widening the Turnpike, Parkway and other truck roads, cancelling and delaying rail projects, and raising transit fares."

"EPA giving these groups an award for diesel reductions is like giving the Jets an award for hiring good Quarterbacks.Particulate matter causes major health problems especially in people with asthma.All New Jersey counties are in violation for ozone, impacting the public health.Addressing this pollution is not just an environmental issue but a matter of life and death.We are doing too little too late and giving these groups an award undermines the seriousness of the problem."

Kate Millsaps
Program Assistant
NJ Chapter of the Sierra Club
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Received on 2012-04-19 09:33:48

New Jersey Sierra Club, 145 West Hanover St., Trenton, NJ 08618, USA
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